We Are Veterans Every Day Of The Year

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Every once in a while there is something that rubs me the wrong fucking way and typically I try to keep my big mouth shut because my words fall on deaf ears. I, and all veterans of our United States military, are veterans every single day of the year. There is not a special day like 11 November that we are magically a veteran, we are veterans whether you fucking celebrate or not. We are not fucking tokens to be polished up and displayed for your annual appreciation, we are people, we are veterans, and we are here every single fucking day of the year. I spent the latter part of this morning reading emails, Facebook posts, Tweets, Google+ posts, and texts because I was out earlier, as I am every Wednesday, spending time with my veteran friends who go otherwise unnoticed. They have been discarded at one point or another by family and friends, nobody even wants to be in their lives any longer. I’ve been visiting every Wednesday without fail for 16 years because I want to be a part of their lives. I have met many wonderful men and women who proudly served our Nation’s military. They are a group who are homeless, or jobless, or bent, or broken, or in need, or all of the above, but they are also human beings who get treated like the scum of the Earth. My question to you is why? Unfortunately I cannot be anything more than a friend to any of them. Unfortunately all I have to offer is kindness and my time. Unfortunately my smiles, hugs, and words are never enough.

On this day, 11 November 2015, a young man I spent allot of time getting to know was not at our meeting place. Early this morning he was stabbed and killed while sleeping outside under a bridge. Why? We will never fucking know. What I do know is that people celebrate only those whom they come into contact with, free meals here and there, discounts at this place or that place, partial proceeds donated to one organization or another today only, and taking the time to thank a veteran for his/her service and commitment when we show our faces. I’m not the person who you’ll see enjoying a free meal, I’m not the person you’ll see buying a new car, I’m not the person you’ll see at the big sales today, I’m not the person you’ll see getting a free haircut today, you won’t see me today because I, like all of our veterans, are veterans every day of the year.

I don’t know how you teach your children or how you were taught, but my children are taught that veterans are human beings all year long, not just on a day of remembrance, not just on other holidays, we are here every day. I’m one of the lucky ones, I have a loving, understanding family, I have a job, I have a roof over our heads, and I try to live a normal life. I know many veterans who do not, who struggle every day to survive mentally, spiritually, and physically, they no longer know the peace I feel. We are a growing number that most don’t remember until Veterans Day, but we are always here.

In closing I would like to say that I’m a proud veteran who does not regret his service to his country. I will ask all of y’all to remember that we will still exist tomorrow, the next day, and forever. All I want is kindness and a smile for myself and all veterans, show us we mean something all the time because so many veterans don’t have friends and families in their lives. I will leave y’all with this very moving poem. As a sidenote, I do not have express permission to display this poem and can only hope that nobody minds it’s presentation on my blog, it’s one of my favorite veterans poem.

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER

(A Soldier Died Today)

by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting  old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,

All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.

But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,

And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,

For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.

Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,

And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,

But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land

A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives

Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.

While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,

That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know

It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,

Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?

Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend

His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part

Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

I Got Excellent Customer Service

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It’s not often that I get to tell of an experience with a company’s customer service that has a happy ending or even a happy middle. However, yesterday the rules changed and when I hung up the phone I was very satisfied with the phone call eventhough my problem was nowhere near resolved. Are y’all wondering how that can even be so? Let me explain. Back in June of this year y’all might recall that we bought my wife a 2014 Ford Mustang which has performed beautifully since the day we bought it. But, a few days ago my wife, who drives the car daily, informed me that the car stereo was not notifying when a text message comes in on her phone. Something she has become very accustomed to, probably to the point of being spoiled, she has really gotten used to the hands free voice activated controls. Needless to say, her world seemed to crash a bit when it stopped functioning. Boo hoo right?

Being the good husband I am, I took a look at it since I was the one who figured it out in the first place. Having zero success I resorted to doing some research on the internet, tried some different things, but was still very unsuccessful in my efforts. After two evenings of playing with it I finally broke down and called Sync customer service. I was preparing for the worst since calling customer service for anything usually results in me trying to reach through the phone so I can choke a motherfucker. With this phone call, in this instance of contacting customer service, I stand corrected. He was polite, courteous, apologetic, and sounded genuinely concerned about the issue. As much as I would like to tell y’all that the problem was resolved I can’t, because as hard as he tried, it’s still not working.

However, he did teach this old dog many new tricks concerning the stereo and other electronic components in the car. I knew it had features but shit not all the things he went through. A car stereo isn’t just a car stereo any longer boys and girls. Little did I know, the last new car I bought was in 2005 and I was impressed with the single disc CD player. Anyway, seems we were only using about 3% of the features to our advantage, but now that has changed. Yes, I mentioned he could not resolve our particular dilemma over the phone but he located our area Ford dealership, verified the services they provide, and set us up with an appointment this Saturday morning. He reminded us that everything is under warranty and after they perform a system update that our problems should become a memory. In the event it is a hardware issue and not a software issue, the Ford dealership will replace the stereo. I will let y’all know how it works out Saturday.

I would first like to thank Scott for providing us with top notch customer service support. I appreciate being treated like a human being instead of a customer with a problem. His attitude made a huge impact on my attitude and I actually enjoyed our entire conversation from start to finish. Whatever they are doing really works and it shows people like myself who have been tainted over the years that calling customer service doesn’t have to be a labored and fucked up experience. So, my hat is off to Scott, thanks for not making me feel I needed to choke the fucking life out of you. But seriously, thanks Scott, you couldn’t fix it but you tried and you took steps to get it fixed, which will make my wife happy, which in turn will increase my happiness.

You’re Bitching Up The Wrong Tree

Okay, visitors here know in a past not so distant life ago I was a bartender in a full nude strip bar. Many of y’all still ask me why. Why? The money was great and the scenery wasn’t that bad either. As well, many (not all) have judged my morals or judgment in career options, mostly I was told how I glorified the world of stripping when strippers are really disgusting slut whore beasts and are the lowest form of human on the planet, right after the douchebags who go to strip bars and pay to see naked women dance in their face. Yes, I simplified it for y’all, forgive me, but I never understood how or why people judge strippers. Strippers strip for whatever reason, I’m not real sure how many of them want to shake what their momma gave them in front of strangers for money. But, I know for a fact that there are reasons women strip, every single one of them has a reason. Some of those reasons have been explored here in the past, and I always get told that I’m very biased because I “lived” in their world too long while working as a bartender. How can that even be true or make sense.

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I thought that since I received this great example from an angered reader who wanted to reach out with her own information that this would be the perfect opportunity to take another moment to discuss choices of employment, perhaps motivations, and of course to glitzy lure of stacks of cash. In a moment, y’all will read the email I got yesterday explaining to me that I needed to be more clear to people so others who do strip or want a career in stripping have information so they don’t get fucked, literally. As far as my past posts, they are my own personal experiences OR experiences that were shared with me by real life strippers while I was a bartender. And, look people, again knowing from personal experience, some of the choices for employment are harder than others. So, read the email below, catch back up with me afterwords. If you ask me, the writer/sender was/is a stripper and got burnt somehow, I would assume she sued or attempt to sue her place of employment because one of her patrons tipped her with information instead of dollar bills. Just my humble opinion.

Begin email———————————–

1. Strippers, exotic dancers, showgirls, lap dancers, peep show dancers, & erotic entertainers are EMPLOYEES of the club they work for.

Stripping is a J-O-B. Strippers will never be independent contractors. It doesn’t matter if the boss calls a stripper an independent contractor or if it’s a term she applies to herself.  The reality is that the way strip clubs operate, the strippers working in can only be employees. It’s because management must exercise a certain amount of control over working conditions or else there would be chaos. Some might argue that management creates more disorder with their policies than order. Management need to figure out which dancers are going to work on any given shift; how many shifts there are in a day; how many hours each shift runs; many decide what dancers may wear at work; how many dances she perform on stage, and so on. The reason why strip clubs misclassify strippers as “independent contractors” is to dodge their employer obligations. The irony is that clubs say you’re an independent contractor but actually treat you like an employee.

2. Strip club employers must pay all their workers minimum wage, at a bare minimum.

Strip club employers must also pay into social security, worker’s compensation, employer taxes, & a slew of others good things that workers in any other industry are guaranteed as employees.  Personally, I think that strippers should get paid far more than minimum wages.  After all, not every chick is willing to take her clothes off in front of random strangers & gyrate on their laps to arouse them!  The management like the money strippers make for their business, but they don’t want to pay these women for their labor.  THIS IS ILLEGAL.

3. State labor laws state that it is illegal for an employer (here, the strip club owner) to take any portion of his/her employee’s (here, the stripper) tips.

To add insult to injury, management charge strippers for the privilege to work!You know:  those stage fees, quotas, commissions, piece rate system, locker fees, booking fees, etc, etc…. It’s also illegal for employers to require strippers to tip other employees (DJ, House Mom, Manager, Bartender, etc).  Management minimally pay non-stripper staff and expect strippers to underwrite the remainder of their wages.  Why are these fees-to-work illegal?  Because strippers earn their money through tips that customers provide for them.  Strippers use their tips to pay management these illegal mandatory fees. THIS IS ILLEGAL. Lets review by answering the following questions for yourself.

Were you misclassified as an independent contractor while being employed as a stripper?

Did management fail to pay you minimum wages while you were a stripper?

Did you have to pay management to work while you were employed as a stripper?

If you said “yes” to one or more of these questions, your labor rights were violated. Take action to assert your labor rights!

End of email——————————————-

**** On a very special note. The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog has not, will not, and cannot provide any legal advice. Visitors of this blog should consult with their own lawyer for legal advice. The information provided was for informational purposes ONLY. I claim no legal knowledge in regards to topics discussed here. Now, you’ve been warned and informed motherfuckers! ****

In reality I don’t care what people do with their lives, how they spend their money, or who they choose to see naked. I can, however, say that every single person who walks through the door of a strip club (employee or patron) has their own reason for being inside those walls. I mentioned before, my goal was to make money, as much as I could as fast as I could. Now, having a 8-5 job during the day and then working another 8+ hours afterwards as a “part time” sucked, I won’t lie, it made for long days/nights. As well, it was a 42 minute drive for me personally which racks miles up on the vehicle as well as adds just a few more hours each day. Yes, once at work the scenery, in general, was pleasant. The work environment was a bit weird because my involvement with the business of the club were pretty nil. I did, however, meet some very nice people along the way while I worked there, I’ll leave that part right there. Want to know more just read around this blog a little and you’ll see what I mean.

Getting back to how I or what I write about glorifies the occupation of stripping, because, lets face it together, I get accused of never writing about anything but strippers using their nakedness to separate men of all ages from their money in the shortest time possible. What y’all have got from me is the brutal honesty, not the fucking fairytale la la land some people seem to live in. I guess my point is simple, working as a stripper is what it is, it’s a choice someone makes, and often enough people get judged because in someone else’s opinion it was the wrong choice to make. Trust me, I’m 46 years old and still get grief from my mother because I bartended in more than one strip club over the years. “How can you do that to your wife and treat her without respect by working at a strip bar?” is my favorite question to date. My wife only had one dislike about me working there and that was the simple fact that I was getting in after 1 in the morning day after day and I was tired. I was tired and didn’t want to do anything except hang out around the house, I was a big fan of not going anywhere or not doing anything. In the end, it was my wife’s opinion that made me want to quit in the first place. She asked me to quit one time, and I made it happen that day. On the flip side, all joking aside here, she was the one that said I needed to get a part time job to fill some time, make a little money, and get out more. In fact, it was a friend of a friend of a friend of one of her co-workers that my wife gave me the number to call for the job. She was informed, the moment I went to the interview, that it was at a strip club. Her answer was it was decision either way, but told me I knew I could make some serious cash if I took it. Yes, she does not about my past life, not that it was talked about much.

Luckily, at the place I worked, everyone was an employee, we all had health coverage if we chose, we could participate in the 401k, they were workers comp compliant, the whole 9 yards. However, indeed, a portion of my paycheck was dependent on bar sales, door sales, and stripper tips. Yes, now I’m the bad guy. No, it wasn’t my rule, and nobody fought it, it was just the way it was I guess. But, they did not pay to dance, they did not have fees except for one, which was if you were scheduled to work and you were a no show/no call, you were given three days off without pay as a warning to be more courteous to your coworkers. It mentions minimum wage above, um no, how the average stripper was making from $18.00 to $23.00 an hour, plus tips, plus dances, plus whatever the hell else they were doing on the side, if anything. Again, I’m not defending the industry itself, merely where I worked.

Oddly enough, during the mere course of writing this post I have received 4 more emails “scolding” me for being a sinner, supporter of sinning, and indulging in the slavery which we collectively call the “sex trades” since stripping somehow falls into that category. Maybe I truly am blind, somewhat oblivious to the blythe which is that of the life of a stripper. But, wait….. for….. it….., I don’t care, I really don’t, I don’t care what people do which their lives. Well, that’s not altogether true, I do care that I contribute a large amount of my paycheck to pay for others to sit at home on the crack pipe, on the xBox, or on the porch, instead of them getting out and getting a fucking job. We’ll talk about that another time, I read a study recently that the average person on a combination of government service programs average about $19.20 an hour. Like I said, lets get back to that another day. My mere connection with the stripping industry is purely coincidental, meaning we would work in the same building, all of us dependent on the very steady stream of people entering the neon lit establishment we called a strip bar.

But, I understand, the easy thing to do is to judge those doing things we don’t agree with. We should just be happy people are out working instead of sucking on the welfare titty all day. Until we as human beings stop looking at the opposite sex with lust in our eyes there will always be a place where we can see the opposite sex naked. Have y’all been on the internet later, have y’all seen what y’all have been searching for, and y’all call me the pervert?  Again, another post for what people’s perversions are. Your choice, fucking hate me, if that gets you though the day, great, just fucking hate me. Meanwhile, I will give you something to think about, my final thought here today. All strippers have a story, a life, a family, and although you detest their industry or them as people, just remember it takes guts to strip in front of strangers, it takes courage to get out there to earn a living no matter what your craft may be. Before we get all biblical on me, remember, I don’t by into it, so in reality it’s a major waste of both of our times. But, as usual, I will get the emails, the comments, and so forth, and I will post here on this blog the ignorance that is spewed. There is no justice in the world, we all know it, sometimes we decide that instead of running away from life, we jump on that old hag, dig the spurs in deep, and ride her until that bitch throws us or we tame the beast. Your choice.

Why I Stepped Foot In Church

Normally I would not attempt the madness called church on my own, but this last time I went to church not to be preached at, but to enjoy the music of the church symphony orchestra which has a member who is like one of my own children. We go to all of her events, in school or in church. I enjoy the way she can make the cello talk to you, she’s finishing out her freshman year of high school, but listening to her play that cello one would never guess her young age. It may just be my opinion, but she is great. So, that’s what led me to church, I enjoy the way she plays, it makes everything in life, the problems and troubles, just fade into the background where they belong. But, that’s not why we are here today, today I’m going to discuss how my attire was not proper enough to be in a church. Clearly there is confusion, unless you are looking to be offended that I’m not in slacks, a nice shirt, a tie, a jacket, and shiny shoes with a belt to match, oh wait, you are. All I can ask is why? Especially since this wasn’t a “service”, it was a performance.

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I wore what I would wear pretty much anywhere, black Wrangler jeans (no holes, clean), black leather belt, 3 button shirt (black in color, no logo, clean), black gator skin cowboy boots (polished, clean), and a black Stetson with a simple silver band (Stetson is a name/brand/style of a cowboy hat). So, it wasn’t as if I showed up wearing surf shorts, tank top, flip flops, and a ball cap. This is my basic “dress up” clothes, also good for funerals, weddings, and graduations. In fact, after walking in, finding our seat in the main hall (we picked 5 out of the nearly 1300 chairs, its a big Baptist church), I removed my hat, placing it in the seat next to me on my right with my wife on the left. Clearly I’m not a member of this church, I’m here as a guest with invitation in hand, given to me by my other “daughter”. After the 2 hour performance which resulted in a standing ovation and constant applause for the 62 members of the symphony orchestra, it was time to stand in the walkways to hug, shake hands, and chat, all of which I did while standing there wearing my hat. Some would say I stand out above the crowd being I’m 6’8″ to begin with. But people focused on more, people focused on the fact that I was wearing jeans and I had a hat on in church.

The message I received loud and clear from mr. preacher man was that my attire was not proper and will not be welcome in the future, this was said in a snotty rude way, very derogatory and unappreciated by me. I was left with but one option, in my opinion, which was to lean in to him, getting my lips very close to his ear as I pulled him close by the shoulder to say “go fuck yourself”, then I kissed him on the cheek, shook his now trembling hand, and walked out. I never looked back, no need to look back. Shortly after I see my wife and kids following up in my footsteps, we get in the truck, and we left. My wife did not become aware that anything was even said until a few days later, when she spoke with the preachers wife, who she knows outside the church professionally. Of course she asked if it was true, of course I told her it was, and no more was said about it. That whole night does nothing but reinforce my dislike for organized religion, I did nothing wrong and his actions/words cannot be justified in my opinion. Since when do I need to be dressed a certain way to be inside a church, no matter what is going on? So, I got to thinking that I had some thoughts to discuss, and in a long drawn out way that is why everyone was invited here today. So lets begin.

The so-called worship wars of recent years may have produced a winner. Many congregations/denominations remain divided between traditional and contemporary styles of “church”, but in most places the contemporary appears to have gained the upper hand. Your worship services have become increasingly relaxed and informal affairs. You can see it in what people are wearing. Church for today’s worshipers is not a dress-up event. Whatever is clean and comfortable seems sufficient. When it comes to church, attire doesn’t much matter. Most people I have spoke with over the years understand there is nothing particularly spiritual about a dress or a coat and tie. I was even told by a Sunday school teacher of my son’s that God is scarcely impressed by such things as clothes. She quoted something to me that day, “People look at the outward appearance,” we are reminded, “but the Lord looks at the heart”.

I do not intend to wade into the broader debate over worship styles; that’s a different discussion. But I do wish to raise a question about this fucking outdated way of thinking that when it comes to public worship since my clothing matters so much. This common assumption, it seems to me, deserves more scrutiny than it typically receives. Over the last several generations, American attire in general has lurched dramatically toward the informal. A feature that quickly dates an old photograph, just look at a picture of your grandparents. The changes are part of a broad shift toward the convenient, comfortable, and individuality. It’s a shift we see on display everywhere we go each day. Ever been to Walmart?  It’s easy to imagine how one might look over-dressed there, but less easy, short of immodesty, to imagine being under-dressed. Jeans or shorts, tee shirts or tank tops, flip-flops or sandals: these draw scarcely any attention, while full dresses or a suit and tie appear strangely out of place. Relaxed, even rumpled informality is in; suiting up in your “Sunday best” is out.

Many seem convinced it’s a good thing, because, again, it’s the heart that counts. Yet precisely for this reason, because it’s the heart that counts, I want to suggest that what we wear in our public worship may matter more than we think. To grasp this connection, let us extract some helpful insights from daily communication we all see. Verbal behavior refers to all those ways we use language to communicate: speaking, writing, sign language, etc. Nonverbal behavior focuses on all those ways we communicate without words: facial expression, gesture, posture, eye behavior, vocal inflection, our use of space, or touch behavior. In our everyday relationships only a small percentage of what we communicate is conveyed via verbal channels. The rest is conveyed nonverbally.

The avenue of nonverbal communication I will call one’s physical appearance and dress shows more about a person than words, or does it?. Here are a handful of observations based on our human interactions.

The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. We share many attributes with other creatures, but the inclination to clothe ourselves is not one of them. Where, if any, is there a moral or even a spiritual dimension to human clothing? Why is so much emphasis put on clothing? Our clothes serve a variety of practical, social, and cultural functions. Protection and modesty spring first to mind, but our clothes do far more. We sometimes dress to conceal or deceive. More often our clothes serve to reveal. We use clothing for decoration, for sexual attraction, for self-expression and self-assertion. By our attire we display our gender, our religion, our occupation, our social position, or causes with which we identify. Many dress to impress, while others choose the reverse: they express their rejection by intentionally flouting accepted clothing norms.

Our clothing is one of our most elemental forms of communication. Long before our voice is heard, our clothes are transmitting multiple messages. From our attire, others immediately read not only such things as our sex, age, national identity, socio-economic status, and social position, but also our mood, our attitudes, our personality, our interests, and our values. We constantly make judgments about one another on the basis of clothing. Common wisdom has it that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But this is only partly true; we regularly read one another’s covering. What’s more, we’re better at it than we think.  We spend our lives making judgments based on appearance and then testing those judgments in our subsequent relationships. In this way, we become rather adept at the process. Judgments based on appearance are rarely fucking accurate, of course, and we are wise to hold them tentatively. But it’s almost impossible to avoid making them in the first place.

Because our clothing is one of the fundamental ways we communicate with others, what we wear is never a purely personal matter. Our attire exerts a social influence on those around us. What we wear can shape patterns of communication around us, depending on what messages people are picking up. Consider, for example, the varied cues we send by the way we dress: “I want people to notice me.” “I’m very confident.” “I want to hide.” “I care only about comfort.” “I want to look seductive.” “I repudiate you and your expectations.”

How we dress not only affects us individually; it also affects those around us. How we feel and who we are influences the clothes we put on or leave off, and the clothes we put on in turn shape how we feel. Changes of clothes can generate a change of mood. As an example, I felt different in my Air Force uniform than I did in street clothes. In some settings our choice of clothing can make or break us. If we like the way we look for a job interview, for instance, it will tend to strengthen our confidence. We feel better about our chances, as reflected in improved posture, more fluent speech, more dynamic gestures. On the other hand, inappropriate dress can suck the fucking life out of our confidence. We have all experienced the uncomfortable effects of feeling under-dressed or over-dressed in a particular social setting.

Much of the social meaning of our clothing is contextual. The appropriateness of our clothing is often dictated by the situation. Dress that would send a given message in one setting might send a very different message in another. Times change, values change, situations change; what was proper ten years ago may not be proper today, or vice versa. All of the above is why we should not conclude too quickly that because God looks on the heart, what we wear to church doesn’t matter. Our internal and external states cannot be so easily disentangled. The fact is, when it comes to how we clothe ourselves, our external appearance is often an expression of our internal state.

What is worship, after all? It’s the act of acknowledging and praising God as God. Is that not a personal choice? According to my wife, “when worshipping, we come before God with awe and reverence, focusing on him in loving contemplation, celebrating him for who he is and what he has done. We willingly bow before him in surrender, delighting in the privilege of extolling his worthiness. In worship we join our small voices with the celestial choirs in a grand chorus magnifying the Creator and declaring his excellences, his purity, his power, his beauty, his grace, his mercy, and his love.” No, I do not agree, but we smile and agree that will do not agree. In reference to what she said, I ask, can’t that be done naked or in a suit of medieval armor? I think the term “stink-eye” covers the expression on her face the best, she was giving it to me.

According to the bible (yes, I’ve read the bible a time or three in my life), God called his people to public worship. It’s everywhere in the Bible. Your corporate worship of organized religion is supposed to please God? Everyone who has ever built a fire knows how quickly lone embers cool and die. But gather those embers and they create a furnace effect that burns hot. Corporate worship of organized religion is no different, its designed to generate that furnace effect in people. Where there is collective thought there is collective action, do as the crowd or the crowd will be undone, the absolute fear of the sheeple culture.

So what sort of clothing might benefit such an exalted occasion? Observers in the gallery of the United States Supreme Court are forbidden to wear hats. Out of respect for the importance of what’s taking place there, the Court’s firm rule for visitors is, “Inappropriate clothing may not be worn.” If this is so for a merely human institution, what might be suitable attire for God-honoring worship? Must there be a rule, must we give a shit, must it cause such an uprising within the walls of the churches of organized religion? Readers will be relieved that I have no dress code to be here at The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog. Read at will, however you are dressed, you will not be judged here in the House of Scorpion. But why don’t I care how you are dressed? Why do I not feel the need to judge how you dress when you are doing what you are doing? I reserve the right to judge you only at Walmart and Starbucks, y’all know who you are and why.

That which is special, that which is our best, that which is sacrificial: We may be tempted to think such standards made sense in the context of Israel’s ancient worship but have little to do with us in the modern world. After all, none of us shows up at church on Sunday morning bearing sacrifices now do you. Everyone has their own reasons for going to church, some go to worship, some to ask for forgiveness of their sins, and one of us went to hear the incredible musical talents of a young girl whom he adores as his own. If you ask me, which your not going to, so I’ll just say it now, I don’t think any of us belong in a church. Salvation isn’t found in church in words translated 10,000 times over by MEN who aren’t concerned about me and you. Think about it. Want a “relationship” with God? You want something/someone to believe in for the comfort of your soul? How do men give that to you? How do you really know what are looking for in the first place?

The question for all of you is this: When you gather for worship, does this sacred event generate within you any similar sense of “awe and reverence”? A perceptive observer of the contemporary church scene might be forgiven for scratching her head over such a question, wondering whether you have grown oblivious to the significance of your own gathering. How often, she might ask you, do you prepare for Sunday as if it mattered, guarding, for example, Saturday nights so as to be fresh and focused the next morning? How come your pre-service gathering so often sounds more like a bowling alley than a people meeting to offer themselves fresh to their God? How is it you are so susceptible to the lure of personality and entertainment up front, obscuring the God-centered purpose for which you have met? How prevalent is the notion that you can worship just as well at home, or on the golf course, or before a TV screen, or perhaps forfeit worship altogether due to inconvenient weather, the priority of other things, or who may be preaching that week?

Not just anything will do when you come before God. He is still honored by what is holy, what is our best, what is sacrificial. The kingdom to which you have come, says the writer to the Hebrews, requires us to “offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe,” because “our ‘God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28–29). The casual attitude toward worship may indicate that you have failed to grasp this important point, a sign of your being more conformed to this world than so transformed in your minds that by testing you are able to discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Don’t you know you are not allowed to make your own decisions? What of your church attire? You deceive yourselves when you breezily claim that God does not care what you wear to church. God cares about your hearts, and what you wear is often an expression of your hearts. So what does your relaxed worship attire say about you? What internal disposition are we revealing when we dress no differently for church than we do for a trip to the mall or hanging out with friends around a barbeque grill? Could it be that our casual dress, chosen merely for our own comfort and convenience is a reflection of an equally casual, can’t-be-bothered attitude toward worship itself? What about those around you? What message is your choice of clothing sending them as you gather for worship?

Can Christians who gather for worship afford to ignore what their church attire may be saying to those around them? Does your choice of clothing communicate to others that this gathering is an important occasion, thereby encouraging them to see it as important as well? Or does it send them in the opposite direction? Why is it that the wrong clothes can distract your fellow worshipers.In this way and others your choice of clothing can be sinful. But this does not render your everyday (“common”), come-as-you-are attire “spiritual” or “honest.” If you care for your fellow worshipers as you ought to, you will take them into consideration as you dress for worship. We will clothe ourselves in ways that edify them and strengthen their own worship. We will attempt to avoid the nonchalant attitude that says this event is entirely routine; that it merits nothing special from me; that my only consideration in what I choose to wear is what is easiest and most convenient. Such a self-centered attitude is corrosive to a true spirit of worship. Instead, the goal in our choice of clothing should be to express to the Lord and those around us that this event matters, that I view it as a holy occasion, one which deserves our highest regard. If the first audience for our nonverbal messages is God himself, and secondarily, our fellow worshipers, dress that best suits these first two audiences may also serve a third: outsiders who join your public worship.

Evangelistic gatherings can in many ways be designed to fit the unbelievers you are trying to reach. But this is harder to do with your corporate worship. The church must first shape its worship to honor God, a goal to which all else must be subordinate. But thankfully, watching believers do what they do can have its own evangelistic effect. Attire that genuinely reflects a God-honoring attitude toward worship may well contribute to a similar result. Can you take a wild guess at what that is? You can guess until you are blue in the gills but you will never truly have your own answer unless it is spoon fed to you, just my personal opinion of course.

None of anything I have said above leaves us with a dress code for being in church, no matter the reason. It certainly does not translate automatically into coats and ties for men and fancy dresses for women. Idealizing bygone eras won’t work here; the meaning of human clothing is too contextual for that. It varies too widely from place to place and time to time, and there are too many other variables to consider. We are left having to judge for ourselves what is appropriate for worship and what is not. Every denomination has their own dress code and rules, whether you want to admit it or not, they do. Want to know my rule? Fuck your dress code!

However, all of the above should at least warn you away from the glib assumption that God actually cares about what we wear to church; or that what I choose to wear in church matters. How I dress is a purely personal affair and that my own convenience and comfort are all that need concern me. The truth is, one of the ways we express ourselves as human beings is by the way we dress. Wittingly or unwittingly, our clothing gives us away. God certainly does not need this expression to know your hearts. But as for the rest of us, we do indeed look on the outward appearance, even when peering into our own mirrors. In this way the clothes we choose for church may have things to tell us about our hearts that God already knows, but that you need to hear from other people because you thrive on judgment of yourself as well as others.

You express this embodiment totality in the corporate worship of organized religion through your shared symbols, rites, and rituals; through your posture and gestures as you bow, kneel, or lift your hands; through your actions when you stand or sit in unison or pour out your hearts musically in congregational song. Just remember, your clothing belongs on this list. By it we express to God and those around us what the occasion of being in church means to you. This is why we are taught, brainwashed, when we come to church, our clothing matters.

Wow, that turned into something sermon like. Wait, all of you reading this will burn in hell unless you……. Unless what? I mentioned before, in the House of Scorpion you are free to do as you see fit how you see fit doing it. I have mentioned once, a long time ago, my own convictions and why I have them, so I will not repeat them now. I also mentioned, some of you may find it very fucking hard to believe tho, that in my youth it was my desire to become a Catholic priest. I wanted to be the one bringing the message to the people, I had many years of education for this purpose, many years I allowed myself to be brainwashed, many years of dismissing my own questions and answers, and ending in disappointment because I started to choke on the bullshit being fed me. Who is at fault for my misguidance? Why, me, of course. Something I corrected and haven’t looked back upon. Or have I? As years have passed, I continue in my reading about the commercialization of corporate organized religion, a term many Christians do not like hearing because they don’t like hearing that they are but a cog in a wheel that is just spinning in circles. But, as are most things written here, they are just my opinions on the world around me. I am not wishing to do battle with the “church” or religion or Christians, but I will not be treated as if my mere appearance is so non conformant that it tarnishes the grace of the church I stand in, to watch a symphony concert no less. Next time, yes there will be a next time, I will go in my slacks (dress pants), but I will be wearing flip-flops bitches!

What have we learned today? Not that I was teaching anything, but I’m curious if you have made the choice to look at what is actually important. What is more important, the message or the dress code? This is on my rather lengthy list of why I don’t attend church services. How can Christianity dismiss everything around us, science, evolution, dreams, and individual thought? I don’t want to be part of the “collective”, I prefer not to be in the herd of sheeple looking for salvation. Salvation from what? Damnation from what? One day we need to discuss corruption, greed, and our sinister needs to be one step ahead of our neighbor. I’m pretty sure we all want the same thing, just to live a happy life, a life we see fit, a life we are comfortable living. Until then, we struggle with our own happiness because that is what we are fucking taught to do after generations of brainwashing we don’t want it any other way. Why do we need to be led? Why do you desire being led? Why? Sorry, I can’t answer why, you must first look into the mirror and decide if you are comfortable in your our skin, then you can start asking fucking questions you might not like the answers to. We must all live with who we are individually to be happy, we can’t do that as sheeple, we can’t do that as a part of the collective thought. Who knew, right?

Until we speak again, I leave y’all with a final thought. I do care about my fellow humans, probably to a degree that few of y’all could ever understand. But, it’s hard to sit by idle and watch us destroy ourselves over stupid shit that doesn’t matter in the first place. Here’s an idea, find the person you cherish and live a happy life. The end my friends, the end. For fun, before y’all leave, get a better understanding of the sheeple by reading The Parable Of The Sheep found in the tabs above as well.

All She Had On Was The Radio

Every once in a while I feel that I can share a little bit about my personal life without giving away that I’m actually a living breathing human being who has a life outside everything else I do. I had a funny haha last week that I think y’all could see how one line of text can have a thousand meanings on one’s head when, in reality, it was an attention getter to intentionally mislead me, to distract me from what I was actually doing at the time. Luckily, for me, I was intrigued enough to investigate. Let’s set up the plot, I was outside messing around with my daughter’s car, maintenance mostly, new air cleaner, windshield wiper replacement, windshield wiper fluid refill, and a taillight bulb replacement. Simple enough, something she asked that I do while she was out of town. In fact, the house was empty with the exception of my wife and I. That whole scenario can lead to big trouble, usually means I’m steam cleaning the carpet. So, being outside taking care of little things that needed to be done was just fine with me. At about lunch time I start getting texts asking if I’m hungry, asking what I’m doing, and how long I was going to be, tell you the truth I was starting to get annoyed a bit, telling her to bring her ass outside if she was so curious. Then there was about thirty minutes of silence.

Then she sends this text, “all I have on is the radio, want to dance?” It was drizzling out, I was all but done outside anyway, so I didn’t answer the text, I don’t think I was supposed to, I think I did the right thing by just going inside to see what in the world was going on. I opened the door to a quiet house, and all I could hear was the radio coming from the back bedroom, my bedroom. First I did stop by the kitchen, which was on the way, to wash my hands and to get a drink of water, then I followed the song on the radio that was playing. I was lead to the bathroom in fact, where I find my wife taking a bubble bath, then she tells me that she told me all she had on was the radio. I will leave the rest to your imagination, if you have one, if not then just know that we both had a nice candle lit bubble bath together.

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Later on in the afternoon she wanted to get out of the house, to go somewhere, just go out to get out of the house, no kids, no wondering what the kids would do for dinner, nothing, just go for a drive and see where we end up. So, she got all dolled up, wearing my favorite jeans, a ZZ Top t-shirt, and her hair pulled back in a tight pony tail. She’s up to something, I just know it. We drove around in her new mustang for a few hours, she makes me drive, I don’t know, its weird with her, if I’m in the car she wants me to do the driving, been like that since day one. I thought it would change with her new car, but no, same old habits. What if I want to get chauffeured every once in a while? I’ve learned, don’t ask that particular question to her, it doesn’t end well at all. I just figure if we are in her car that she would want to drive. After not eating lunch I was starting to get real hungry, I asked if she had any suggestions, no of course, said for me to pick. Fine, I pick Joe’s Crab Shack, it was close and I haven’t been there in a few years. Dinner was good, margaritas were decent, and my company was very good. It gave us an opportunity to talk, to have a “date night”, and just be us for once in so many years. I get it, we don’t get allot of one on one time, we are always doing something, or we always have the kids tagging along, so it was, in fact, very weird, a little too quiet if you ask me. But, it was a fantastic night, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, never, we need many more of these “date nights”.

Soon enough, we would leave, she wanted to head across the freeway to go to the mall for a few minutes, she wanted to go in to get some makeup that they only sell at the one store. I knew it, I knew there was a plot, I new it was too good to be true, I knew I just gave up the next hour of my life because we cant decide which shade of black she wants for eyeliner. Of course, I’ve been a victim in this store before, I hate this store, so much I can’t bring myself to even type the fucking name. Plus, she asks me, the colorblind motherfucker, which color do I like, I always just answer with the one that has the cool, off the wall name, has kept me out of trouble for many years. This time, with no kids, I had no excuse to go to the Lego store or to Brookstone, I had to go in, her not letting go of my hand was the tell tale sign for me, I was already getting the cold sweats, fuck I hate this store. As a pleasant surprise, she walks in, never letting go of my hand, because I would have run for cover and she knows it, she picked up what she came in for, a compact of something or another, and we then checked out, we were in this beast of a pit less than five minutes, tops. Not a word from me either, and not a word from her either, we were just done, just in and out, scary.

Then we head to Sears, where I get told to hang out for a while, and that she would return for me shortly. Huh? She tells me to just roll with it, don’t worry about it, she would be back. Well, okay then, I shall just wander around Sears for a “while”. I didn’t see much I haven’t seen before, same tools, same lawn mowers and lawn shit, same beds, same vacuum cleaners, same appliances, and the same conditions at the shoe department, nice shoes I like, decent prices, but only go up to size 13, which is bullshit. Why can’t we just carry size 16 so I can at least try them on? But then again, that is the same scenario at all shoe stores in the mall, which is also bullshit. So, I’ve managed to kill almost thirty minutes and still no wife, so I make my way to the jewelry counter, not getting anything, just wanted to get my watch cleaned, they use one of those sonic washers which is pretty cool, gets all the muck out of the crevices. Just before the lady is done with my watch my wife slinks up behind me, wanting to know what I was buying. Then she sees the lady bringing my shiny black watch back and then she knows I’m not buying anything, no need to, I bought this very Fossil Relic watch in November of 1999 and it’s never, not once, given me any shit or reason to replace it, I make Father’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas a bitch for everyone, because a watch is never an option. After putting old faithful back on my wrist I notice she is carrying a Victoria’s Secret bag, which she will NOT let me look into. Trust me, I tried, no dice. How rude. Hand in hand we leave Sears, one more stop I’m told, which is good, its 8:45, and the mall closes in fifteen minutes, bonus.

We end up at Hollister, not my favorite, yet not the worst place to shop for women’s clothing. But, damn, this place is so expensive, I always expect to have to pay some kind of “cover” every time I walk thru the doors. This one is cool though, the entire staff is all female, dress like strippers, the lights are down low, the music is always bumping, and they offer complimentary bottled water. Plus, Plus, Plus, and Plus for me. Okay, she shops here at the teenie bopper store because they carry her size, “0”, and the only other place that carries that size in most of the pants is Guess, but she has never been let down here. I took a seat, she begins the hunt, she’s like a lioness on the prowl, stalking her prey on the open savanna, and when she finds the one that catches her eye, she pounces. It’s fun to watch, deadly on the wallet, but still I appreciate watching this part of the “chase”. She finds three pair, all blingless, all slightly torn in various places, but ones she seems to like. Off to the changing room, let the show begin! My wife is a natural born tease, she knows I still check out her ass, she knows my eyes still follow her around as she passes by, so, she abuses me with it, and she knows she is doing it. I liked all three, well, two of them, the stretchy ones I really don’t like. They look like jeans, don’t feel like jeans, and just “aren’t right” in some weird old school way. I know, I’m showing my age here, I cant help it, I don’t like them, they just aren’t right. The other two, perfect, absolutely perfect!

Now we head out of the mall, my wife reluctant to let me carry the bags, which is odd, I’m the guy you always see carrying the bags, but not tonight, which is fine, its weird, but fine. Get out to the car, bags in the truck, out of sight, and we head on home. When we get there, now nine-thirtyish, I settle into my chair, flip on the television, and find I have missed the first half of River Monsters, oh well, he never finds the big monsters until the end of the show anyway, that man pulls some fucked up fish from the depths of the rivers and lakes, and just think I used to like going out on the water, but now that I know it’s full of all the different kinds of “nopefish” I may just have to stick to the cement ponds. I never bothered turning on any lights because I didn’t plan on being out there in the living room very long anyway. You know that eerie feeling you get when you just know there is someone behind you, the feeling that makes all the short hairs on your body become electrified? I got that feeling, soon after I feel the cool hands I know so well, come across my shoulders. She held my head so I couldn’t turn my head, told me to close my eyes, and I feel her hands leave me. Moments later, I open my eyes to see my wife wearing what she bought at Victoria’s Secret. Um, OMFG!

By the morning the house was full with kids again, the hustle and bustle of everyone getting ready for work and for school. It was nice while it lasted, the quiet times, the time with my wife alone, and the not having to worry about everything happing around us. Out of the blue I get a kiss on the cheek from my daughter and a thank you for taking care of her car. My son, gives me a fist bump, he’s getting too old to hug me I guess, all of thirteen. As I stand in front of the kitchen sink taking my medications I feel a familiar touch of a cool hand going under my shirt onto my back, and then a kiss between the shoulder blades. No good morning, not that I usually get a verbal good morning, just what I got, it was nice, real nice. Then as softly as she appeared she slinked into the shadows of the hallway heading to the bedroom, undoubtedly to finish getting dressed for work. As I drove off to work I remembered that the entire day prior all started with a clever text, “all I have on is the radio”, what a nice thought.

Do “You” Think Animals Have A Face?

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I use the word “you” as a practical way of asking the question because “we” really doesn’t apply in this particular case. Before we begin, eventhough many of you will become offended, it isn’t my actual intent when opening this subject up for a real discussion. I’m not looking to sway any opinions as everyone has their own opinions for their own reasons. I write about this topic today because it has become somewhat of a sore spot with me because of some emails and comments I have received over the last week. Seems people have dug and found newer reasons to give me grief for the way I live my life personally. Through out this post I want y’all to keep referring to the picture at the top of the post. Yes, I understand that only about 2%-3% of the visitors to this blog actually read what has been written, I have learned to accept that fact. Even fewer comment which is why I often refer to my blog as monologuing instead of interactive. With that being said I should probably begin to say what I want to say.

Do “you” think animals have a face was the title to this post because I am curious as to what makes a person say that animals have a face. As you might be able to tell, I don’t think that way. Many times I have looked for the written word of any animal who thinks it has a face or an account where an animal was documented stating it had a face. You know I will always come up very empty handed, no matter what. Having a face is a human thing, we humans tell ourselves and other humans we have a face and maybe even what it looks like here and there. I personally know people who associate animals with having faces and I have asked them why as well. Some people have conditioned themselves into this association for one reason or many reasons. No, I do not try to understand the reasons why and one could say I am real closed minded on the subject. I find it a very bizarre behavior when people refer to animals as having a face.

So, where am I going with this post? Well, I have been getting a borage of comments/emails about how wrong I am for hunting and how wrong I am for being a gun owner. Two opinions I respect and appreciate but also disagree with as well. My reasons are neither your business nor your concern. I don’t need to justify nor defend hunting or owning guns and I will not. I do with my life what I do with my life. I’m not here to have an argument with anyone. I will pass on free advice which can be applied to almost anything in life. If you don’t like it then don’t do it, don’t be around it, and don’t have it in your personal life. But, back to thinking animals have faces and how I am an evil bastard for killing them, cooking them, and consuming then. Since that is what has been said. I won’t be sorry that I am a meat eater, I won’t be sorry I own guns, and I won’t be sorry for hunting. Most of all I will not be sorry if you are offended because of any of it. When I hunt it is to put food on the table and not for a trophy. People who know me in person know this fact and some people who visit here insert their assumptions based on their feelings but not what has been written.

People have faces. Plants and animals do not have faces. I am an omnivore, I enjoy eating bother plants and animals. I refer y’all to the picture at the top now, is it a picture of a human, an animal, or a plant. Since I am the only one who 100% knows then you have to 100% rely on what I know. If you choose not to rely on my words then you will guess and assume you know the answer. My point is simple, y’all want to associate known human elements into to what should be rational thoughts, but pieces of the puzzle are missing. What to do? Indeed. Just remember something for me, guilt doesn’t work because I have nothing to feel guilty about, except for the raspberry filled pastry I had for breakfast, since it is in the forbidden list and off limits to a diabetic like me. I guess my goal is to die happy and not pissed at the world because everyone has a different opinion.

When ten people nicely ask about the picture I will reveal to y’all the truth and the answer.